We talk an awful lot about passion and purpose here, that and a whole lot of dream-talk too. Some of my favorite subjects, clearly.
But perhaps there needs to be just as much focus on service, because when it boils down to it, I think humans by design thrive on community and service to others–whether we know/accept it or not.
I can recall my tumultuous quest for purpose and passion, constantly looking outside of myself. I was waiting for “my big break,” or any break for that matter. I’d done my time sacrificing; I’d paid my dues, surely someone or something had noticed all this suffering and was ready to reward me handsomely at any moment.
It was a long wait.
And still nothing.
I had gifts, sure. And I was grateful. But my true talents had yet to be tapped, although I had no idea what they were, that much I knew.
I’d search Craigslist day in and day out, less for jobs and more for ideas. Idealist.org was a step up, but just as frustrating. My search spanned from TV & Radio, Advertising & Marketing, Non-profit, Education, Fitness, Art Media Design, Writing Editing … I think actually the shorter list was the markets in which I wasn’t willing to work–Accounting, Admin, Engineering, Biotech, Biz Management, Paralegal & Government.
Everything else offered some segment that held my interest. I was beside myself in disbelief–at 30.
I sent in an audition tape for Survivor for Christ’s sake. I’d never seen Survivor!
It was only after several months of forced introspection that I realized that my favorite jobs all had one thing in common: helping others.
Ice hockey instructor, lacrosse coach, teacher, personal trainer, etc.
I’ll never forget one evening meditation on a beach in Hawaii, where I was living at the time. My mantra: “How can I serve? How can I serve? How can I serve?”
There was no resounding voice, or outward sign, (that time at least) just a deep inner knowing that I was on the right path. I was beginning to understand that passion and purpose weren’t in the hands of someone else, or to be sought outside of me at all.
The signs were in the things I’d been drawn to all along, the bliss I’d already experienced. In fact, nothing made me more happy than making others smile. So much so, that stand-up comedian even crossed my mind;)
Still nothing happened overnight; there was a process yet to unfold. But knowing I was on the right path, really knowing, was all that mattered.
I leave you with this: How do you serve? Or how could you serve? Perhaps your passion or purpose is hidden in your natural service to others. Chew on that for a bit;)